Grass roots

Nearly 57 years ago, just before Christmas, two young businessmen (and future Sylvania residents) were enjoying a night on the town when their discussion took a serious turn. How could “self-made men” like themselves help less fortunate local families who “fell through the cracks” at local social service agencies?
“We wanted to leverage our skills as entrepreneurs to provide relief for those who were down on their luck, out of work, or experiencing tight finances during the holidays,” recalled Ken Myer, years later.
Their last stop that evening was at a local tavern where they impulsively set out a paper grocery bag to see how much they could collect for those in need. The response was heartwarming. Within days, they met with a local priest who provided names of families who soon received deliveries of groceries from the two.
In the following years, their efforts recruited a larger group of volunteers that called themselves the “Baker’s Dozen,” and later, the “Do-It Group.” It was the beginning of a grass-roots charity effort that continues today. A founding member, Bob McCloud, passed away in 2016. Myer and fellow organizer, Norman Tanber, passed away within weeks of each other this spring. But a new generation of helpers is making plans for a golf outing in August and the next “Do-IT” party in December.
“The money from our party and golf outing now feeds more than 100 people a year on average,” said the current leader of the group, and Bob’s son, Mike McCloud. “Our primary focus is helping 13-15 families at Christmas time and making sure that those most in need with children enjoy the holidays. Any excess money will go charities in the springtime that serve veterans, women’s shelters, churches, and the homeless.” Details and reservations for this year’s Do-It golf outing are on Facebook at DO-IT Golf. Businesses interested in supporting both the outing or Christmas party can reach Kyle Elkins at
One major beneficiary is Sylvania Area Family Services, which provides names of 4-5 families each year for holiday assistance. Last year SAFS’s recipients included a single mom with five children, a grandma raising two grandkids, and a homeless mom and her teenager who just moved in with her adult daughter.
“We give Do-It the information about how many are in the family and ages of the kids,” said Executive Director Dottie Segur. “We inform the families ahead of time so they can give us ideas of what they need or special diet restrictions. Then the Do-It volunteers shop at Sautter’s on the Saturday morning just before Christmas and deliver the items directly to the families’ homes.”
Jim Sautter has opened his market to the Do-It volunteers for more than 30 years. He makes sure the store and check-out lines are fully staffed when they arrive around 7:30 am and provides boxes for the crew. Each volunteer shops for goods specific to the family assigned to them; last year there were 16 shoppers. As each person checks out, the store donates a large boneless ham to the cart.
“We try to give back to the community, and this is one way to help,” Sautter said. “What they do is amazing, because these guys are not necessarily wealthy. They are just ordinary people who came up with an idea to help other common folks who have fallen on hard times. Sometimes they bring their families along to show the kids how to give back. For me, it’s one of the most fun days of the year.”
The tradition is sure to continue through the good work of a younger group of volunteers. Mike McCloud’s daughter Lauren, and her husband, Kyle Elkins, are instrumental in putting together the next Do-It golf outing which is scheduled for Aug. 12 at Giant Oak Golf Club in Temperance. Mich. The four-person scramble format is open to anyone who is interested. In keeping with the off-kilter philosophy of the original Baker’s Dozen, prizes are awarded for the first, second and third-place foursomes … and the last. There is also a 50-50 raffle.
And Mike McCloud, Julie Wasserman, and Greg Loeb are working on the fifty-seventh annual “Do-It” Christmas party in December. Proceeds from the outing and the party will help families in need in the Sylvania area and beyond.
Sylvania Area Family Services awarded this grass-roots group its “Ray of Hope” award for community service in 2016. Said Dottie Segur, “What they have done through their charity over the years is specifically what our families need … it means the world to them, especially during the holidays.”
More information is available through Kyle Elkins at
Longtime Sylvania resident Mark Luetke has served on city council, the board of education, and numerous foundation and community boards.

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